Graeme McDowell Wins RBC Heritage at Harbour Town- Somehow, He Actually Makes That Tartan Jacket Look Good

It has always seemed crazy to me that Tom Lehman only won five total times on the PGA Tour.   He was a gritty player who always seemed to be lurking around contention, and while yes, he did win a major (’96 British Open), to only hoist a victorious trophy five total times in his career is definitely a stat that most golf fans aren’t aware of.

So, why the Tom Lehman mention this week?  Let’s call it a similar surprise that Graeme McDowell burst through into the winner’s circle this week at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, for just his second ever PGA Tour victory.

When asked about his victory, Graeme actually said that he considers it his first “official” PGA Tour victory, as his lone ’10 U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach came when he was not a member of the PGA Tour.  While Graeme has only been primarily playing stateside for just 2 ½ seasons or so now, with his level of popularity and the amount that he’s put himself into contention, it’s just crazy to think that this is only his second victory on Tour.

We all remember Graeme’s contention at last year’s U.S. Open at Olympic Club, followed by his tough final round just that next month at Royal Lytham in the British Open.  Also, his lead and then giant collapse at the ’11 PLAYERS Championship, as well as his Ryder Cup prowess and other world scenes jump into mind (six total Euro Tour victories).  Graeme did win the 2010 Chevron World Challenge at Tiger’s event at Sherwood, defeating Tiger himself down the stretch, but of course that was not an official PGA Tour victory.  Overall for the past three or four years, we’ve seen Graeme and have grown to love him along with his goofy Irish-Alabaman accent, but just haven’t seen him smiling among the flashbulbs in the PGA Tour Sunday sunset enough up to this point.

The conditions on Sunday at Harbour Town were very licking-my-chops-like for Graeme, as cooler temps coupled with steady 25-30mph winds gusting over 40 mph made pars come at a super-premium.  In fact, on the par 71 sub-7,000 yard course, only 3 players broke 70 on Sunday, with Graeme of course being one of them.  Gritty grind-em-out pars, knockdown shots and windy fist pumps are what Graeme does best, and sans an 18th hole 3-putt from the fringe, he was bogey-free flawless on a day when the rest of the field swimming in bogies.  Following a solid par on the first playoff hole and a 3-putt from the fringe by Webb Simpson, the victory and tartan jacket was his…and somehow, he looks dang good in that ugly plaid coat.

Congrats to Mr McDoooooooul (Irish-Alabaman accent) on his victory, here’s to many more to come.

Joel Harrington

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